Want to taper off Pristiq, makes my heart race

Posted by Native Floridian @nativefloridian, Jan 7, 2012

Has anyone successfully tapered off Pristiq? If so, what was your plan? I am considering going off this medicine. I take 50 mg per day and have done so for about 2 years. I understand there are very significant withdrawal symptoms and I would like to stop taking Pristiq because it causes my heart to race when the time release happens. I am afraid this medicine may not be good for the heart because the clinical trials state that anyone with a heart condition was not allowed to take it.

Liked by SHO101, dianenero

Ive been on 25 mg of pristiq for about a month now. Ive had the nasty side effects and ive decided i want to get off of this med. I cant stand whats been going on in my mind since ive been on this med. I dont know for sure if i have to taper or not? Im terrified to be honest because i dont want to fall into a deep depression. I was on prozac before this and i honestly believe that drug threw me into a depression, i had originally gotten on prozac because my anxiety was popping back up. I got on it and felt terrible. Then i got on pristiq and a lot of side effects, not as bad as prozac but just enough to make me want to stop. Ive had brain fog, insomnia, weird thoughts before falling asleep, nervousness, irritability, lack of concentration, i believe it started to effect my short term memory as well. I just want it to stop. Im seeing my doc in the morning so, i hope to get something started.

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@tiffany89

Ive been on 25 mg of pristiq for about a month now. Ive had the nasty side effects and ive decided i want to get off of this med. I cant stand whats been going on in my mind since ive been on this med. I dont know for sure if i have to taper or not? Im terrified to be honest because i dont want to fall into a deep depression. I was on prozac before this and i honestly believe that drug threw me into a depression, i had originally gotten on prozac because my anxiety was popping back up. I got on it and felt terrible. Then i got on pristiq and a lot of side effects, not as bad as prozac but just enough to make me want to stop. Ive had brain fog, insomnia, weird thoughts before falling asleep, nervousness, irritability, lack of concentration, i believe it started to effect my short term memory as well. I just want it to stop. Im seeing my doc in the morning so, i hope to get something started.

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Hello @tiffany89, welcome to Connect. You may noticed I combined your discussion with an existing discussion titled, "Want to taper off Pristiq, makes my heart race." I did this so the members already talking about taking Pristiq would see your message and have a chance to respond. You can also read through some of their posts as well by clicking VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to be brought to the new location of your discussion.

@tiffan89, with any medication, especially medications such as Pristiq, it is important to keep your provider and/or a pharmacist in the loop. Typically, a pharmacist can best help you determine the best way to wean off of a medication so that you minimize the side-effects. Have you discussed with a provider your wish to cease this drug and potentially find a new one to try?

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@suzane

I too was trying to taper off with advice from my Dr. helping me with menopause/hormone issues. She never even heard of it but strongly suggested I wean off slowly. She was unaware of coating/time release issues. Even my Psych who prescribed didn’t know much about tapering off being he only took samples from his Pharma rep. Was and still am having horrible withdrawal symptoms that make it a challenge to work! Logged my experience w/someone at Wyeth/also logged complaint w/FDA. I know this takes a lot of time from your daily duties but I believe it’s worth the effort to make them aware of how Pharma Co’s are making us feel while trying to wean off the scary stuff. Best recommendation is to find a compounding pharmacy as they helped me. Bought a “tablet crusher” from him/he wrote directions (not actual px)to take crushed pill 25mg (was on 50mg)mixed w/juice evry 8 hrs.(3x/day for next 2 weeks. My Psych highly recommended starting on Sam-e right aft my last dose of Pristiq. Thank goodness for this non-traditional pharmacy/this wonderful pharmacist who was gracious enough to help me out!

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Suzane- How was your transition? Using this taper method did it make it tolerable or did you suffer negative effects?

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A number of you have talked about tapering off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). I'd love to hear how you are doing now, and I think your answers will help others also going through the process of discontinuing this medication.

@auspiciousinaz – are you currently tapering off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)?

@tiffany89 – did you end up starting a taper off this medication? If so, how is it going?

@jeanmnyc – did you end up finding a medication that works well for you since going off the desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)?

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I am new to writing on this site or any sites. I am writing as I searched many sites for peoples input on withdrawals from Pristiq. Many individuals told of withdrawals symptoms for the first 4 weeks or less but never a longer time frame, or they quit cold turkey. I have now had a time period of over 7 months of lowering Pristiq and can give feed back on how the process worked in our family. I have a family member that was on Pristiq for anxiety and some other minor symptoms. She had been on Cymbalta and was switched to Pristiq. I believe she was on Pristiq for 4 years. Her highest dosage was 100 mg and was lowered to 50mg without any problems. She stayed on the 50mg for a year. Her doctor, a psychiatrist who prescribed her medicine worked with us lowering her dosage. Along with CBT and regular therapy she has come through this process over the past few years and we now felt it was time to try and see if she could go forward without medication. We worked on a plan to continue to lower her dosage as we felt she was progressing very well with her life. She is a college student and our plan was to then lower her to 25 mg during her December break as she would have time to adjust before school started again. Her doctor felt she would be fine as she didn't have any problems lowering from 100 to 50 mg. The first 7 days were the hardest. She suffered from sweating, craving food, nauseated, diarrhea, crying spells and just a weird feeling. She worked part time and that kept her busy and focused. She also lived at home and therefore had family around to help cook and for support. It took her about 3 weeks to start to feel better. She continued on with work and school for the next few months. Our next lowering of her dosage was planned for May after her exams. We felt coming off this medicine in the summer is better as there are longer sunny days that help keeping her motivated. Our plan was to take vitamin B, have sunlight, take walks and to join a pilates class. I checked with a compounding pharmacist about cutting the 25 mg pills into 3 dosages a day as Pristiq's lowest dose is 25mg. They said they felt I could do the same just cutting the pills and that it wouldn't be much help from them as it is timed released. On May 12th I cut the 25mg pill into 3/4 of a tablet, this dosage then gave her the medicine all at once instead of in time release form. I don't know if giving her 3 small doses at 3 different times a day would have been better than one dose of medicine all at once. For 5 days she had brain fog, light headed and after 2hours from giving the dosage she would crash and take a 2 hour nap. The nap would help. By 5pm she said she felt weird as the medicine was probably out of her system, where as before it was time released and lasted longer. She started taking the medicine an hour later every morning until it was a good 4 hour difference later in the morning to keep the medicine in her system till later in the day or till early evening and then she could go to sleep. She would still feel nauseated at times at this dosage and by the 7th day felt better. Since she was feeling better we decided to lower the dosage again before she started back in school in June. On May 19th we then lowered her dosage from 3/4 to 1/2 of a 25mg pill. This time she wasn't as emotional nor light headed on the lower dosage. She didn't need to take a nap after 2 hours of taking the medicine. On May 25th her dosage was lowered to 1/4 and she was feeling ok, not 100% but ok. She took walks and joined a gym, and continued with work. She started her summer classes at college and was scared to come off completely as she was doing so well in school and she thought it would be hard to come off the last amount and keep her grades up. Over the July 4th break from school she decided to come off the final dosage. We decided that if she started to feel strange or she couldn't keep up with school we would just go back to the 1/4 dosage of cutting the 25mg. That week she no longer took Pristiq. She said she was a little sad at times but she could handle it. She kept busy exercising, met with a nutritionist as she had gained weight when she was eating emotionally. She continued with vitamin B and enjoying the long sunny days of keeping busy. It has now been over 5 months and she feels great has all A's in school for the past 5 months, lost 5 lbs. and has scheduled visits with her psychiatrist every 6 months just to talk about how she is doing and if any new problems have come up since off of the medicine. I hope this helps someone by posting this reply.

Liked by autumn981

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Advice on trying to stop taking pristiq: be warned that it is EXTREMELY difficult due to the severe withdrawal symptoms. I tapered off of my regular 50 mg pristiq with 25mg, but no matter how slow I tapered off it was still causing major side effects (coma-like sleep and inability to wake up) so after tapering as long as I could I decided to stop. I officially stopped taking it about four days ago and it has been extremely rough. The night of the first day I woke up in the middle of the night mid-vomiting uncontrollably for a good 20 minutes. I went back to sleep but woke up even worse. I was unable to even drink water without throwing up. The whole second day I slowly sipped pedialyte, broth, and applesauce in hopes that it would stay down, it was awful. The third day I was finally able to eat, slowly and only simple foods. I felt fatigued, lightheaded, and felt like I was floating. The next two days I experienced major mood swings, dizziness, floating sensations, anxiety attacks, and insomnia. It’s the fifth day now and I still feel slightly floaty, and have a headache… but I’m finally seeing some small progress. My emotions are still super unstable but I know that it too will pass just like the physical symptoms. It seems I may be passed the worst of it. So to anyone tapering or stopping pristiq, I hope this log was helpful… and I think it’s important to note that I have an as needed medication for my anxiety that has helped me through it, so I am not completely medication free in the stopping of pristiq. Whatever reason you are stopping pristiq (mine being the negative side effects) just know that it gets better. I recommend treating the withdrawal symptoms like you would if you had the stomach flu, and take a few days off to lay down, watch netflix or read and let you body heal. It will be extremely hard but worth it! Hope this helps!

Liked by bubba122

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Hi all, as anxieties increase and social interaction is limited with the COVID-19 virus, Mayo Clinic Connect has opened up a brand new group dedicated to COVID-19, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/covid-19/. The hope is to help members connect and cope during these unprecedented times.

Please follow the COVID-19 group by clicking on +Follow, look at the discussions there and participate. You are also welcome to start a new discussion on any COVID-19-related topic you'd like to discuss.

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@mominfo867

I am new to writing on this site or any sites. I am writing as I searched many sites for peoples input on withdrawals from Pristiq. Many individuals told of withdrawals symptoms for the first 4 weeks or less but never a longer time frame, or they quit cold turkey. I have now had a time period of over 7 months of lowering Pristiq and can give feed back on how the process worked in our family. I have a family member that was on Pristiq for anxiety and some other minor symptoms. She had been on Cymbalta and was switched to Pristiq. I believe she was on Pristiq for 4 years. Her highest dosage was 100 mg and was lowered to 50mg without any problems. She stayed on the 50mg for a year. Her doctor, a psychiatrist who prescribed her medicine worked with us lowering her dosage. Along with CBT and regular therapy she has come through this process over the past few years and we now felt it was time to try and see if she could go forward without medication. We worked on a plan to continue to lower her dosage as we felt she was progressing very well with her life. She is a college student and our plan was to then lower her to 25 mg during her December break as she would have time to adjust before school started again. Her doctor felt she would be fine as she didn't have any problems lowering from 100 to 50 mg. The first 7 days were the hardest. She suffered from sweating, craving food, nauseated, diarrhea, crying spells and just a weird feeling. She worked part time and that kept her busy and focused. She also lived at home and therefore had family around to help cook and for support. It took her about 3 weeks to start to feel better. She continued on with work and school for the next few months. Our next lowering of her dosage was planned for May after her exams. We felt coming off this medicine in the summer is better as there are longer sunny days that help keeping her motivated. Our plan was to take vitamin B, have sunlight, take walks and to join a pilates class. I checked with a compounding pharmacist about cutting the 25 mg pills into 3 dosages a day as Pristiq's lowest dose is 25mg. They said they felt I could do the same just cutting the pills and that it wouldn't be much help from them as it is timed released. On May 12th I cut the 25mg pill into 3/4 of a tablet, this dosage then gave her the medicine all at once instead of in time release form. I don't know if giving her 3 small doses at 3 different times a day would have been better than one dose of medicine all at once. For 5 days she had brain fog, light headed and after 2hours from giving the dosage she would crash and take a 2 hour nap. The nap would help. By 5pm she said she felt weird as the medicine was probably out of her system, where as before it was time released and lasted longer. She started taking the medicine an hour later every morning until it was a good 4 hour difference later in the morning to keep the medicine in her system till later in the day or till early evening and then she could go to sleep. She would still feel nauseated at times at this dosage and by the 7th day felt better. Since she was feeling better we decided to lower the dosage again before she started back in school in June. On May 19th we then lowered her dosage from 3/4 to 1/2 of a 25mg pill. This time she wasn't as emotional nor light headed on the lower dosage. She didn't need to take a nap after 2 hours of taking the medicine. On May 25th her dosage was lowered to 1/4 and she was feeling ok, not 100% but ok. She took walks and joined a gym, and continued with work. She started her summer classes at college and was scared to come off completely as she was doing so well in school and she thought it would be hard to come off the last amount and keep her grades up. Over the July 4th break from school she decided to come off the final dosage. We decided that if she started to feel strange or she couldn't keep up with school we would just go back to the 1/4 dosage of cutting the 25mg. That week she no longer took Pristiq. She said she was a little sad at times but she could handle it. She kept busy exercising, met with a nutritionist as she had gained weight when she was eating emotionally. She continued with vitamin B and enjoying the long sunny days of keeping busy. It has now been over 5 months and she feels great has all A's in school for the past 5 months, lost 5 lbs. and has scheduled visits with her psychiatrist every 6 months just to talk about how she is doing and if any new problems have come up since off of the medicine. I hope this helps someone by posting this reply.

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Thank you for posting such a detailed plan. I have been looking for advice on slowly tapering Pristiq. I feel as though there’s hope to successfully stop this drug after reading your post.

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@scottyg

Hi everyone! This is my first post here, and before I get to my comment/question I just wanted to say how helpful and informative it has been reading these posts!
I am 54 and have been on Pristiq for approximately 5 years. I won't go into the story itself, but suffice to say I was in a very difficult place in my life where I had seen some tremendous changes including deaths, births, and the deterioration of my marriage. After a very long time, many, many tears, and crushing loneliness, I have dealt with these issues as well as I can – to the extent that I am strong enough now to really own them, put them on my back, carry them, and accept that. Long story short: I do not want to be on this medication any longer; I feel like a prisoner. If this were alcohol or some other such drug that I had become physically dependent upon, I would be encouraged by others (wife, Dr. etc) to 'recover.' Now I need to recover from the "cure." Pristiq did it's job; I needed it, it helped me stabilize my mood and deal with what I needed to. But I don't need it for that anymore, and I don't want to live the rest of my life on this med. I need to move on and experience "life" as it's meant to be experienced…fully. Tears, joy, anger, wonder, and most importantly the drive to be creative again.
…..And have a *&%# erection again!!
I've been tapering off Pristiq for almost 4 months. It has not been easy …at all!! My main symptoms of withdrawal have been dizziness, vertigo, some at times intense emotional lability, feeling flushed occasionally/hot flashes, and as a result of these a real lack of concentration and focus. I'm forgetful and don't seem to be aware of time (well…that one could just be me!)
In my taper, I am currently taking Pristiq once every 5 days. So today is Wednesday, and I last took a pill on Friday afternoon. I have some of the above symptoms, but less than I was experiencing initially…somewhat significantly less. So my question is this: if I don't take another pill at this point, will my symptoms increase or continue to gradually decrease? I realize I can always take another one if I start to feel worse; but I was just curious what to expect and thought I'd ask.
Any advice, thoughts, comments, or questions are most welcome! thanks!!

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My circumstances are so similar, I could have written this exact post (except about the erection LOL). Thank you for sharing.

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